A man who drove to Washington, D.C., on Jan. 6 with guns and ammunition and threatened to shoot House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the head on live television pleaded guilty Friday.
Cleveland Meredith Jr. pleaded guilty to one count of interstate communication of threats, and court documents say an estimated prison term could be up to two years.
Meredith drove from Colorado to the nation’s capital for a Jan. 6 rally supporting President Donald Trump, but he arrived after the riot in which a mob attacked the U.S. Capitol, according to court documents.
He brought a Tavor X95 rifle, a Glock 9mm handgun and around 2,500 rounds of ammunition.
On Jan. 7, Meredith texted a relative: “Thinking about heading over to Pelosi [expletive] speech and putting a bullet in her noggin on Live TV” followed by an emoji showing a purple devil face, Meredith admitted in a plea deal. That relative contacted Meredith’s mother, who contacted the FBI.
Meredith told U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Friday that “it was political hyperbole,” but did admit to the message, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported. Meredith is a native of Georgia.
Meredith’s attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday night.
Sentencing is set for Dec. 14. The judge will determine the sentence, but estimated terms based on sentencing guidelines range from six months to two years, according to the plea agreement.
Prosecutors will seek an enhancement. If the enhancement is accepted, the estimated sentence is between 1 1/2 and two years. If not, it would be six months to one year.
He has been in custody since his arrest, according to court records.
Meredith was arrested Jan. 8. The FBI went to his hotel room in Washington on Jan. 7 and searched his phone, truck and an attached trailer, where they found the guns and ammunition, according to court documents.
The message about shooting Pelosi, D-Calif., wasn’t the only text message referencing violence that was found.
On Jan. 6, after he received messages about the riot at the Capitol, Meredith texted “Hauling ass, 3.5 hours from target practice,” prosecutors have previously alleged while arguing that he remain held in custody.
On Jan. 7, Meredith wrote “I may wander over to the Mayor’s office and put a 5.56 in her skull,” referring to Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser, court documents say. The number 5.56 refers to a type of ammunition.
On Jan. 6, a pro-Trump mob attacked the Capitol as Congress was formally counting the Electoral College votes affirming President Joe Biden’s win in the November election. Trump and others had repeatedly and falsely claimed the vote was fraudulent.
More than 600 people have been charged in connection with the Capitol riot.
Phil Helsel is a reporter for NBC News.